OK, so we have a new postmaster general. Maybe Jack Potter can do better than outgoing PMG William J. Henderson. He can’t do much worse. Boy, did Marvin Runyon get out while the going was good. Runyon, who took over the U.S. Postal Service in 1992, is considered the postmaster general who actually turned it into a profitable business, achieving annual surpluses of more than $1 billion for three straight years before he left in 1998. Henderson, however, is leaving under an entirely different situation: The postal service will be in debt more than $1 billion this year, and that’s after an unprecedented two rate increases in the same year.
Not sure why DMD Marketing Conferences officials honored Henderson with a lifetime achievement award at last week’s show in New York. During his short tenure at the top, postal rates increased twice, and his agency’s long-term outlook was placed on the General Accounting Office’s “high-risk” list. Deputy PMG John Nolan, who was in the running for the top spot, spoke at the conference, kidding that the postal service just needs a better public relations agency as he looked for a sympathetic ear explaining why rates keep going up and why reform is needed so desperately. With an audience full of mailers, he didn’t find one. Let’s hope Potter – another bean counter like Henderson – can do things differently.
Any mailers looking for ways to save money before the July 1 increases take effect should check out Gary Davis’ contributed piece (see page 27). Among his 20 tips: Mail invoices with your product; eliminate return envelopes in favor of return postcards if all you’re seeking is a response; and rent names that better match your customer profile.
To end with some good postal news for a change: You may have noticed postal writer Melissa Campanelli’s byline missing from recent issues. That’s because she and former DRTV News editor Rob Williams got married two weeks ago and have been on their honeymoon. Everyone here at Courtenay Communications wishes Melissa and Rob a lifetime of happiness.